Can’t resist those French fries, followed by crunchy burger? Well neither can we but according to a research overindulging even for just a few days might have more of an impact on our body than we expect.
Researchers found that eating a high-fat diet for just five days can change the way your muscles metabolize nutrients, possibly setting the body up for serious disease down the line.
The effects mimic the abnormalities seen in people with severe metabolic disease,” said study co-author Dr. Michael Roden, referring to conditions like fatty liver disease and cirrhosis.
“Our findings paint the picture of the earliest changes in liver metabolism leading to fatty liver diseases and liver cirrhosis in the context of obesity and type 2 diabetes,” said Roden, Scientific director of the German Diabetes Center at Heinrich Heine University in Dusseldorf.
Dr. Hannele Yki-Jarvinen is professor of medicine at the University of Helsinki in Finland. “We know diets high in saturated fat make the liver fatty,” she said.
“Saturated fats such as in butter, fatty cheeses and coconut oil are thus the worst thing to eat from the liver perspective,” said Yki-Jarvinen, co-author of a commentary accompanying the new study.
For the study, the researchers assigned 14 healthy, lean young men to consume a placebo or a dose of palm oil that varied according to their weight. The palm oil provided levels of saturated fat equivalent to that from an eight-slice pepperoni pizza or a cheeseburger with large fries, the report said.
This “fat loading” caused the liver to produce 70 percent more glucose, which could boost blood sugar levels over time, Roden said. Potentially, this could contribute to insulin sensitivity — a precursor to type 2 diabetes.
Fat loading also caused liver cells to work harder, which could stress them and contribute to liver disease, he noted.
In addition, the saturated fat lowered the liver’s ability to store glucose compared to fat, “which over time might favor fatty liver diseases,” Roden said.
It’s possible that healthy people could easily overcome these effects while those who repeatedly eat fat-laden foods might be less fortunate, Roden added.
Yki-Jarvinen said that while cirrhosis is difficult to reverse, most people can boost their liver health.
“If you change your diet to a more healthy one containing healthy fats, such as found in olive oil, your liver fat decreases in a few days,” she said.
There was a time when we all stopped eating many of our favourite foods thinking they were bad for us and ended up overweight, overly full of refined carbohydrates, and sick? Well now it seems like low fat craze was better for us after all.